Board talks Kilby, decides to look further into funding options

First grade teacher Mandy Wicks works with students in her classroom at Kilby Laboratory School.

By Josh Skaggs, News Editor

The UNA board of trustees touched on the ongoing discussion of the future of Kilby Laboratory School at its quarterly meeting on campus Monday.

Recently, UNA administrators have spotlighted the future of the school, as Kilby has been the topic of conversation within many groups on campus.

“We’re trying to get other ideas as to how we can fund (Kilby),” said Trustee Libby Watts-Jordan. “We certainly do not want to entertain the idea of closing Kilby School at this time.”

Last year, the university’s subsidy to Kilby School was close to $220,000, according to John Thornell, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“The amount of money to support Kilby has continued to creep up over the years,” he said.

Kilby School has been around for 140 years on UNA’s campus, Watts-Jordan said. The Kilby issue is an emotional one for everyone involved, she added.

“We’ve got to obviously be fiscally responsible to the university,” she said.

Watts-Jordan expects that the board, as well as the university administration, will look further into the issue and investigate more options for the university.

“They have experienced proration from the state and Lauderdale County Schools,” said UNA President Bill Cale. “UNA has had to subsidize funding or else they would not be able to function.”

At the last meeting of the Strategic Planning and Budget Study Committee Dec. 7, Kilby’s PTO President Carole Maynard presented to the committee her organizations’s plan to work with the university and improve their relationship.

Maynard demonstrated to the committee, which reports to the board of trustees, ways that Kilby Laboratory School is directly in line with the mission of the university.

“It’s such a valuable asset to our professors to have their kids in such a good school so close by,” Watts-Jordan said. “Kilby has done an excellent job cutting costs where they can.”

Board President Pro Tem Steve Pierce agreed with Watts-Jordan’s comments.

“It is definitely a benefit to attracting professors and staff,” he said.

The UNA administration would like the opportunity to look at alternative funding for Kilby and try to bring back a recommendation that is sensible in the spring, Cale told the board.

Both Staff Senate President Ethan Humphres and Faculty Senate President Darlene Townsend told the board and administration their respective senates are concerned about the future of Kilby. They both reminded the board that Kilby is a strong asset to their colleagues and constituents.